The European Union says it is “ready to react” to Russia’s latest decision to halt gas supplies to the bloc.
Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom announced on Friday September 2, that it would halt gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. It cited the need for additional repairs.
The move came after supplies had already been halted last week for a planned “maintenance outage” that was expected to last until Sept. 3.
Gazprom said on the Telegram messaging app that inspectors found an oil leak in the pipeline.
“Gas transportation to the Nord Stream gas pipeline has been completely stopped until the issues on the operation of the equipment are eliminated,” the energy company said.
The halt to supplies comes after a summer of volatile relations between Russia and the EU as the war in Ukraine continues, with Russia accused of “weaponizing” gas supplies to its European neighbors in a bid to pressure the bloc for sanctions relief. Russia denies using energy as a weapon.
Gazprom has repeatedly said that sanctions are preventing it from maintaining and running the pipeline efficiently and had already reduced gas flows through the pipeline to around 20% of its full capacity.
It also comes after the Group of Seven economic powers agreed on a plan to impose a price cap on Russian oil in an attempt to curb Moscow’s oil revenues.
As European countries prepare for a very cold winter, thr European Union says it is “ready to react” to Russia’s decision to halt gas supplies to the bloc, .
Paolo Gentiloni, the EU’s economics commissioner said to CNBC at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy.
“We expect that Russia is respecting the contracts that they have but even if the weaponization of energy will continue or will increase in response to our decisions, I think that the Euoprean Union is ready to react,”
“Of course, we have to save energy, we have to share energy, we have [a] high level of storage and we are not afraid of Putin’s decisions,” Gentiloni told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick
“We asked Putin to respect their contracts but if they don’t respect their contracts then we are ready to react,” he said, without detailing exactly what actions this could entail.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the EU has looked to reduce and phase out its imports of Russian gas. However, while it scrambles for alternative supplies, it remains very dependent on Russia supplies.